In the world of electronics, there may not be a more offensive crime than price fixing. Patent infringement seems to be something that almost every company engages in to a degree, but actively working to shut certain competitors out of a fair piece of the market while hurting consumers is pretty inexcusable.
Earlier this year, several AU Optronics (News - Alert) officials stood trial and were convicted of colluding with several of their competitors to fix the prices of LCD screens. After months of review, the ordeal has reached the penalty phase and federal prosecutors are looking for the company to pay $1 billion.
The government also wants two former executives behind the fixing scheme of the company’s computer screens to each serve 10 years in prison.
It appears that the government feels that AU Optronics was the company that really led the scheme as they are asking for significantly more from AU than they have from the other companies involved in the scheme.
Regardless, the company, a collaboration between Acer (News - Alert) Display and Unipac Optoelectronics Corporation, was recently rumored to be involved in putting together the screens for an iPad Mini. The company’s lawyers are arguing for penalties that are quite a bit smaller than what the government seeks.
AU lawyers have said that the company should not have to pay any more than $285 million. They also argue that the executives’ jail time should be considerably reduced.
A final verdict is pending.
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